Miscellaneous musings

Trip Start Jun 24, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Friday, July 3, 2009

It is raining today...a lot.
But I love the rain.
Where I live, we don't get the downpours and rolling thunder, so I usually enjoy it when I travel to the Caribbean.

I find that I keep comparing this place to Jamaica...I guess because my heart is there, and I have traveled there so many times, it is like my second home.
As I mentioned on the first page of this blog, I am usually IN Jamaica right now. But this season, I felt I owed myself a change of pace...is there a better destination (for me) than Jamaica?

There are a lot of similarities to Jamaica, but also it is very different here in Puerto Viejo.
The climate, smells, rain, etc. are similar. The beaches are pretty here too, but there are also black sand beaches here that I have not seen in Jamaica (black sand as a result of volcanic activity). Some of the beaches, however, look like the ones I grew up near, in California; waves but not the turquoise blue in other areas. And then there are those postcard perfect, turquoise waters here that leave you breathless.

The Afro-Caribbean influence is evident here and there are a lot of men that wear their hair in dreadlocks. I have yet to see or speak with anyone that may actually be a real follower of the Rastafari culture, although many do look the part. And there are only a few Jamaicans (I am told by residents) that actually arrived here from the island of Jamaica; rather, they are decendents of their parents and grandparents, born here in Costa Rica. These decendents have not ever been to Jamaica, so it is a different experience speaking to someone who looks to be Jamaican, yet speaks only Spanish...It is interesting to me. And then there are the bicycle riding Caucasian blond dread locked youth, both male and female, who appear to me to be searching for their way in this world. I dunno....just some random musings as I mentioned.

There are representatives from many countries here; as I walk the town, I am hearing many different languages spoken amongst both residents and travelers. I am  hearing just as many different styles of music coming from each establishment, depending on the owner's background and heritage. I hear calypso, reggae, Jimmie Hendrix, John Lennon and some new age meditation music among other styles. It is very much a cultural melting pot here. There are many young surfers, bohemian wanderer types, older former hippies and business men, many college age backpackers and then tourists like myself. And everyone is mellow.

No one here in PV really dresses up per se, rather the dress here is cotton casual beachwear; shoes are flip flops, sandals, Birkenstocks too. Many guys walk, drive or ride shirtless.

For the most part the folks here are nice...I have met two that weren't. One is a business owner of Surf Rentals who is dishonest and rude - charges $24 one day and $40 the next for a scooter. Of course he didn't get my business and I hope you will avoid him too. The other is Jamallie, a local craft vendor who beat me out of $30....but that was my fault for believing that he would deliver me the hammock I asked him to bring me from another town like he said he would do if I gave him the money up front. I know better but thought I would give him the chance to prove me wrong. Well I was right. ((sigh)). But karma always works its way out, one way or another, whether you believe it or see it or not. And so it goes.

Like Jamaica there are lots of dogs here....unlike Jamaica, there are a gazillion different breeds too. Small ones, big ones, short haired ones, long haired ones. And also unlike Jamaica, they are mostly well cared for; at least fed and better tolerated. Even the strays don't look emaciated, as if someone is feeding them too. It is a common sight to see a dog running off leash next to it's young owner on a bicycle or in a bicycle basket on the handle bars. There are a lot of dogs tolerated in the restaurants here too. And the dogs always look happy; their heads and tails held high, many frolic in the waves or with each other on the beach. Then they just trot away looking like a happy dog. It makes me smile every time.

Puerto Viejo is extremely laid back...I think in some ways even more so than in Jamaica.
I have not been whistled at or harassed by anyone looking for a vacation romance; there are NO beach vendors here, and if you stop at a vendor stall to look at handmade local items, no one uses guilt to try and get you to buy. That is different than in Jamaica and is a welcome change.

I like the beauty and verdant lushness of the area further south, at Punta Uva and Manzanillo. More on those areas soon.

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